A line of severe thunderstorms tracked across southeast Minnesota and into Wisconsin causing widespread damaging winds. Wind gusts were measured at 70 mph in the Rochester, Minnesota area, and up to 80 mph in central Wisconsin. Some buildings sustained damaged in Abbotsford, Wisconsin and a mobile home park was heavily damaged near the town of New Rome, Wisconsin. The La Crosse National Weather Service office issued 14 warnings for this event.
9. JUNE 25TH ABBOTSFORD, WI TORNADO
A rare tornado formed out of a squall line moving across northern Clark County and dropped down in the center part of Abbotsford causing considerable damage. A large feed mill was demolished, with debris damaging 15 cars at a nearby car dealership. An electric generator from the feed mill was thrown about two blocks, damaging the front of a building, before coming to rest on a minivan, demolishing it. Utility poles were sheared off and tossed, as well as a railroad crossing guard. Winds gusting to 65 mph also caused nearby damage.
The tornado was rated an F1 with a width of approx. 70 yards. There were two known injuries but no fatalities. You can review our event summary for this tornado by clicking here.
8. MARCH 9TH BLIZZARD
After a very quiet and mild winter, a late season blizzard hit parts of the region on March 9th. Winds were sustained 30 to 40 mph with gusts around 50 mph. This caused whiteout conditions, especially across northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. There were numerous accidents, one of which ended up with a fatality in Byron (Olmsted County Minnesota). Some roads were closed due to snow and ice, including a part of Interstate 90.
7. MAY 8TH SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
Numerous severe thunderstorms dropped large hail and caused considerable wind damage over much of the region on May 8, 2002. The worst damage was in northeast Iowa where supercells dropped large hail and produced wind gusts up to 100 mph. A pole barn was destroyed near Protivin, IA and a brief tornado (F0) caused damage near Waukon (Allamakee County). Heavy rains also caused flash flooding leading to extensive field erosion. A total number of 30 warnings were issued.
6. JUNE 4TH CASSVILLE, WI FLASH FLOOD
Rainfall amounts of 3.5 to 5 inches produced flash flooding in and near the town of Cassville, WI. Furnace Creek, which flows into the northwest part of town, was choked with so much debris that the flow of the water was diverted into nearby homes and a park. Twenty-five homes had to be evacuated with 8 homes receiving significant damage. One home was destroyed when the basement collapsed. Local residents also reported cars floating in water 2 to 3 feet deep. Details can be viewed by clicking here.
5. APRIL 18TH SEVERE WEATHER
A series of thunderstorms dropped large hail across the region. Over 60 reports of large hail were received at the La Crosse National Weather Service and a total of 46 warnings were issued. The largest hail was golf ball sized and there occasional wind gusts to 60 mph.
4. STRING OF NON SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES
The very mild 2001-2002 winter led to a new record for the latest sub-zero temperature at La Crosse. Temperatures did not drop below zero until March 2, 2002 for the entire winter. In addition, a new record was set for the longest string of above zero temperatures. The record was set from March 1, 2001 to March 2, 2002 - a total of 366 days.
3. JUNE 22ND CENTRAL WI FLASH FLOOD
Repeated thunderstorms with heavy rain caused flash flooding over parts of central Wisconsin during the overnight hours of June 21-22nd. Hardest hit was northeast Adams County where Doppler radar estimated total amounts of 15 inches of rain. Cooperative weather observers reported 5 inches of rain at Big Flats, WI, 7 inches in Leola, WI, with up to 12 inches reported just north and east of Leola.
Numerous roads were closed or badly eroded, with many bridges washed out. Area lakes were full, while levees and dikes nearly breached. Many basements and septic fields flooded out. The event summary can be found here.
2. LABOR DAY - GILMAN, WI TORNADO (F2)
A tornado touched down about a mile northwest of Gilman, WI (Taylor County) and moved southeast into the village a couple minutes later. A few trees and homes were lightly damaged before the tornado hit the Gilman school. The roof was blown off the school gymnasium, where the high school football team had been seeking cover a minute before moving into the hallways and interior rooms. Debris was blown from the school onto the nearby football field and into homes east of Gilman. The tornado kept tracking southeast into the Chequamegon National Forest, producing occasional house damage and knocking down hundreds of trees.
The worst damage was found near the end of the path, along Sawyer Ave. west of Medford, WI where the top of a two story house was sheared off. There were no reports of deaths or injuries. This was the first confirmed tornado in Taylor County Wisconsin since 1977. This was the same day as the Ladysmith Tornado. An event summary can be found here.
1. VERY WARM 2001-2002 WINTER
The winter of 2001-2002 was one of the warmest on record. It was the second warmest ever in Rochester, Minnesota and the third warmest on record for La Crosse, Wisconsin. January 2002 finished +11 to +13 degrees F above normal with numerous daily high temperatures broken. For the month, January was the 5th warmest on record in both Rochester and La Crosse.
Todd Shea, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS-La Crosse